Mintel: Consumer Optimism Fires Grilling Prospects

According to market research firm Mintel, grilling is becoming a bigger opportunity not only for folks who sell barbecues and ribs but also for anyone providing products that enhance the barbecue experience. From craft beer to outdoor-compatible plates, barbecuing can serve up sales.

Consumers in the United States have become more home-oriented since the recession and through the slow recovery. As such, grilling represents not just an activity, it’s an experience, too, Mintel asserted, that consumers hope will generate good feelings and happy memories. As such, consumers who are grilling are looking for ways and products that enhance the experience.

About eight in 10 U.S. households includes at least one grill, and about 60% of householders use their grills a few times a month or more, Mintel maintained. In many households, the firm continued, a grill complements the stove today, as grilling  has become a year-around activity. Although consumers got more home oriented in the economic downturn, unit sales of barbecue grills slipped between 2008 and 2013, Mintel reported, as some consumers put off purchasing, replacing, or upgrading their grill. Of course, that could represent pent up demand and a surge in related sales as consumers look to enhance the total barbecuing experience centered on the new grill.

Mintel indicated that consumers are spending more money on leisure activities such as grilling in an economic atmosphere where people are feeling better about their prospects. Mintel stated the consumer expenditures could grow by 18% this year to reach $657.3 billion

The market research firm pointed to an overall improvement in consumer economic attitudes in the United States. It noted that spending by Americans topped $10 trillion in 2013 for the first time as consumer confidence gained in a growing economy. The firm added that the outlook for 2014 continues positive, with spending expected to increase further and at a pace that is more than three times the projected rate of inflation for the year.

U.S. consumers are saving less, which Mintel characterized as another hint that they are less focused on past financial difficulties and reducing spending at all costs, and that optimism has risen.